Dear Editor,

The IRISH I Was Faster 4K and Little Shamrock 1K event was held on Saturday, March 18. This race was put on by the Imlay City Athletic Boosters and raised money for various athletic expenses. The Athletic Boosters strives to provide coaches with needed equipment and programs to help our student athletes achieve their goals, hopes and dreams. The race raised $4,000 towards grants that coaches submit.

Although the day was cold and blustery, the race had 208 signups in the 4K, 1K and Virtual combined. This is a first-year race, and it drew participants not only from the Imlay City School District but from other local school districts as well. Contenders came from locations well outside of the Imlay City area too. Participants came from Shelby Township, Pontiac, Farmington Hills, Canton, Caro, Marysville and many more cities. There was a great group of people out enduring the harsh weather conditions. Everyone kept a great attitude as they knew they were getting the benefits of being outside and moving as well as giving to our student athletes.

The 1K was held first and let the crowd cheer on our future athletes. The kids had an out and back course that let them get some of the chill out of their bodies. The 1K winner was Ella Everhart. The 1K was followed by the National Anthem, which was sung by an Imlay City High School student, Raelynn Wright. She did a wonderful job at showcasing our choir talent. Sgt. Genesis of the United States Air Force gave the participants the signal to GO!

The 4K route went near or alongside all our sporting venues. The participants went over by the track and football fields and made a loop around all the school buildings. On the return to the finish, they could view the soccer and baseball fields in the distance. They also got to travel through our quiet subdivisions to get a glimpse of life in Imlay City. There were 181 signups for the 4K main event.

The Overall (Male) Winner of the IRISH I Was Faster 4K was Elliot Whitney, a student at Imlay City High School, with a time of 14:53. He set a blistering pace of 5:57 min/mile in the windy and cold conditions. Second place went to John Monette of St. Clair Shores with a time of 15:38 (6:15/mile) and third to Mark Van Den Berg of Imlay City with a time of 16:09 (6:28/mile).

There was an exciting finish for the Overall Female spot. The prize went to Lisa Grout, a teacher at Imlay City Middle school, with a time of 17:36.45. She was followed very closely by Jenna Denver, a student at Imlay City High School, with a time of 17:36.51. It was a duel in the wind as this was a separation of 0.06 of a second! Each one was traveling at 7:03 min/mile. The third female across the line was Cassie Williams of Caro with a time of 18:59 (7:36/mile).

There were plenty of students who play sports for Imlay City at the event. Several chose to go in the 4K event to give funds. We had a great turn out of kids to volunteer to guide participants around the course. They braved the weather like everyone else and made sure that runners and walkers knew where to go. They held signs with positive slogans and cheered on participants to keep them motivated. These kids really make a difference in our participants having a great time. The Boosters received many compliments on our excellent support while out on the course. Thank you, student volunteers, coaches, and parents, for braving the cold temps and wind ensuring our participants were encouraged along the way. We also had many parent volunteers ensure that the check in process went smoothly.

Special thanks to Erin Wetzel for providing finish line photos. Thank you to Mr. Brian Eddy, high school principal, who ensured that the Boosters had access to the school and items to make the race fun. Also, thank you to Mr. Dan Campbell who assisted with providing items for course set up. Timing was provided by Mr. Gordon Aldrich of Aldrich Timing Services.

A final Thank You to our sponsors. They make sure that the initial costs for the race are covered and without their support we couldn’t have provided such a well-received race. Our sponsors were Schoenherr Produce (4 Leaf Clover Level), Realty Volution (3 Leaf Clover Level), United States Air Force, Big Boy, Evie’s Hair Salon, and Meijer (2 Leaf Clover Level), IC Alumni Association, The UPS Store and Choice One Bank (1 Leaf Clover Level), Hanson’s Running Shop and Family of Christ Lutheran Church (Lucky Charm Level). Part of the age group awards was provided by Vlasic. If you would like to sponsor the IRISH I Was Faster next year please reach out to the Imlay City Athletic Boosters. We are confident that the IC IRISH will continue to grow and bring in participants from outside the Imlay City area.

— Jen Schoenherr
IRISH I Was Faster
Race Director